Playable female character

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Lady Bug (1981) was one of the first popular games to feature a playable female character, even if you can't tell she's female.

Games with a playable female character are noteworthy because, although women make up roughly half of the world's population, only a fraction of games feature playable female characters. Those that do often have the woman as a single female in an otherwise all-male cast or simply swap the male character with a female portrait while leaving the rest of the game unaltered. Since having a playable female character is such a novel concept, I have made a category for it on my Wiki.

Several substantial gaming databases have lists for female protagonists, for example, MobyGames has such a category. It being such a large database, it also depressingly shows that only around 2% of video games have a female protagonist. My site expands the category to all games that have a playable female character, even if she's a minor character, and even if the only way you can tell she's female is because she has an "F" in the status bar. Games which feature a playable female character often also have a strong female character, though not always.

I had played games like Ms. Pac-Man in the mid-1980s, but since her sex is totally irrelevant to the game, it didn't affect me at all. The first game where I remember actively noticing that a game had a playable female character was around 1989 when I first played King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella. At the time, I didn't like the idea of having to play a princess in a game because I wanted to live out my boyish fantasies of being a strong heroic knight. However, as my taste in fiction matured, and my understanding of how women were oppressed was expanded, I began to really appreciate the few games which feature playable female characters. While I'm pleased to see the percentage of games which feature playable female characters has been increasing over the years, there is still a long way to go before playable women appear in even a tenth of the games being made, let alone half.


These are games that are important to me which feature a playable female character. For all games, see the category.

Title Released Notes
Borderlands 2009-10-20 One of the four classes, Lilith the siren.
Borderlands 2 2012-09-18 One of the four classes, Maya the siren.
Clue 1949-??-?? Half the playable characters are female, Miss Scarlet, Mrs. Peacock, and Mrs. White.
Diablo 1996-12-31 One of the three classes, the rogue.
Diddy Kong Racing 1997-11-21 One of the eight racers, Pipsy.
Final Fantasy VI 1994-04-02 Three of the 14 primary playable characters, Terra, Celes, and Relm. All playable minor characters are male.
Gauntlet 1985-??-?? One of the four playable classes, the Valkyrie.
Golden Axe 1989-05-?? One of the three playable characters, Tyris Flare.
Gone Home 2013-08-15 The protagonist, Katie.
Her Story 2015-06-23 The protagonist is female.
Ittle Dew 2013-07-05 The protagonist, Ittle Dew.
King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella 1988-??-?? The protagonist, Rosella.
Left 4 Dead 2008-11-17 One of the four playable survivors, Zoey.
Left 4 Dead 2 2009-11-17 One of the four playable survivors, Rochelle.
Mario Kart 64 1996-12-14 One of the eight kart racers, Princess Peach.
Metroid series 1986-08-06 The protagonist of all the games in the series, Samus Aran.
Portal series 2007-10-10 The protagonist in both games, Chell.
Secret of Mana 1993-08-06 One of the three playable characters, Primm.
Super Mario Bros. 2 1988-10-?? One of the four playable characters, Princess Peach.
Ultima series 1981-??-?? Almost all of the Ultima titles allow you to play a female character, early games just use a M/F in the stats. Later games add female graphics and change dialogue.


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